28 January 2010


Today is my fourth day of class this semester. And I just have to say this semester is going to take considerably more of my time than the last one. I am taking the second half of Anatomy, which is a lot more intricate than the first half. A lot of the first half was memorizing bones and muscles. And, I have to admit, I have been blessed with a freaky strong memory. So all of those terms came pretty easily to me. But so far we are studying the endocrine system and it is a lot harder for me to memorize all of the hormones and their properties and the all of the steps of the second messenger systems the water-based hormones employ... Grrrr...

Also, last semester my second class was an English class which was cake. I mean, all we had to do was crank out five essays. Whether we attended class was pretty much optional.

My second class this semester is a Psychology course. Human Growth and Development. Which I am loving. But which is significantly harder than the English class.

The Psychology course is so fascinating. And I cannot stop applying everything we have been learning so far--about genetic psychology and nature vs. nurture--to the dynamics of adoption. Because it is always on my mind. I will read a paragraph in my book ... and then I am picturing a little baby face ... and then I will shake the image from my head, look back at the book and read another paragraph ... and then I am thinking of baby names ...

So I will discuss the adoption plan. I will blog about it a lot. Just a head's up.

Tomorrow night I am attending an adoption information session at our church. Which seems like very fortuitous timing. I think the focus will be on foster care and subsequent adoption. I want to hear about all of it. There will be families there who have gone through the adoption process and I cannot wait to hear their stories. I think it is fascinating how people arrive at the right decision for their family. Because every family is different. And every adoption situation is different.

So far I catch myself getting defensive when I talk to someone about our plan. Because often they have questions about it. Which is perfectly natural. But which I feel defensive about answering. A part of me feels like if I was pregnant, no one would be asking me about my reasons for becoming pregnant. But announcing we plan to adopt has opened a whole can of worms, such as Why China? Why not Haiti? Why not an American child? Why not foster care? Why not an older child?

When I first told my friend, Shannon, about our plan I felt like I was literally apologizing for the fact that I want to adopt a baby and not an older child. She interrupted me and said, "Erin, it's okay to want things." And it was like a wave crashing over me. What do I want? I want a baby. I do not want to adopt because I want to "save" some orphan from a lonely existence. I want to adopt because I want a baby.

Some people have implied that Jonathan and I are wonderful people because we are going to adopt. Like we are overly generous or something like that. It makes me smile. I mean, yeah, I think Jonathan and I are pretty wonderful, but our reason for adopting is completely selfish. We want another child.

24 January 2010

putting it out there

I am going to do it. I am going to drop a bombshell.

Jonathan is on the phone and he just told his mom all about it and I heard him tell her, "Yeah, you can tell people!" He looked at me and nodded and frowned, like, Right? We are telling people? And I shrugged and nodded back. I already told my mom and once the moms are told, any news is completely allowed out of the bag, right?

Anyway, it is more a whisper than an announcement. Still in its infancy stages. But huge and all-consuming, none the less. And if I am building up some suspense, good. Because this little whisper, this plan, is suspense-worthy. I am full of it right now as I type.

We are planning to expand our family. Yes! It is out there now. Floating around the interwebs. We are planning to adopt a child.

Our plan is still in its infancy stage. We are looking into adopting a baby from China. We know that this is a very long process and plans can change, but whoever our next child we be and wherever he or she may come from, please, just bear with the lack of details and information and just revel in our decision and please please please please pray for us.

20 January 2010

Embarrassing Moment Number 8564

Realizing I misspelled "embarrassing" in my previous post.

19 January 2010

Embarassing Moment Number 8563

School started again today. For me.

Before leaving for class, I emptied out my backpack from last semester and restocked it with pens and lip gloss and tissues and Motrin etc. etc. I think it is a throwback from lugging around a diaper bag for so long and that lovely feeling of being prepared for any situation. There were some pantyliners in the bottom of the backpack and I sat there staring at them debating how necessary they could possibly be since I never wound up desperately needing one last semester! Finally I tossed them back into the backpack, figuring if I ever did wind up desperately needing one while in class that that moment in my kitchen where I took them out of the backpack would come back to haunt me.


I went to class and then had to go to the bookstore for some clicker-thing my Psych professor is requiring us to have to participate in classroom polls. Some $39 clicker-thing that I am sure I will never need again after this class. Anyway, I pull out my wallet to pay and stuck to my wallet is ... you guessed it ... a pantyliner.


13 January 2010

bucket lists

I found these lists in an old journal of mine today. Several years ago Jonathan and I wrote down some of our goals in life. I can remember lying in bed beside him, writing as he dictated his list to me, but for the life of me I cannot remember when we did this. I think I remember which apartment we were in, so I am guessing we did this in 2000. Ten years ago. It is interesting which ones we have accomplished in that time and which ones we still have yet to cross off. Maybe now (10 years later) would be a good time to come up with new, revised lists.

Anyway, here is My Bucket List ca. 2000, with the goals I have achieved crossed out:

TO FINISH COLLEGE (I am in school now, so yay, me!)
1. to have children
2. to see:
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • France
  • etc.
3. to learn the clarinet
4. to learn the guitar?
5. to learn to sew
6. to make a quilt
7. to perfect my great-great-grandmother Mariah's lemon sponge pie
8. to find a way to stay in shape that I enjoy
9. to learn about photography
10. to write more
11. to be a great cook
12. to call my family & friends more (This one cracks me up--can I have gotten worse in the past ten years? Is that possible?)
13. to see "Les Mis" again
14. to write a book
15. to weigh 125
16. to learn to knit
17. to learn another language
18. to learn about world geography

Some of them I can tell you right off the bat will not be on my new list, such as to learn the clarinet (no idea where that one came from!) and to weigh 125 pounds. Seriously, I would just rather be healthy than focus on an ideal weight. And 125 sounds a bit on the skinny side and pretty impossible to obtain at this point in my life!

And now for Jonathan's Bucket List ca. 2000:

1. to see:
  • Greece
  • Scotland
  • Norway
  • the Caribbean
  • Hawaii
  • the Grand Canyon
  • etc.
(his list of places to visit was a bit different from mine since he had already been to much of Europe before we met)
2. to learn the guitar (he is learning now that he got a shiny new guitar for Christmas!)
3. to go skiing
4. to go scuba diving
5. to own a sailboat
6. to take a cooking class
7. to walk more
8. to go snorkeling

It is interesting to me how many of Jonathan's goals are more attainable now that we have moved to Colorado. Like going skiing and walking more. And visiting the Grand Canyon, which is so much closer than before. Very cool. I wonder what things will make his new list...

11 January 2010

Happy Holidays

I was in the store this weekend. Walking through displays of pink and red valentine hearts. I suppose I am used to the rapid replacement of all things Christmas with all things Valentine's Day once the holidays are over, but this--this I was unprepared for:

That's right, a display of Easter candy tucked in between all of the hearts and teddy bears.

I am not one of those who complains when I first hear Christmas music, even if it is while I am buying Halloween candy. I don't complain when I see Christmas merchandise in the stores. In fact, I used to get so tired of hearing customers complain when I worked at Borders and would start putting out Christmas books every fall. "Christmas stuff already?!"

I always just ignored them and kept shelving when I really wanted to snap at them: "Yes, Christmas stuff already! What an original observation. And you know what, people will buy it. People will buy it and yet I will also hear 8 billion more grumpy Scrooges just like you say Christmas stuff already?! for the next three months every time they walk past these books that are selling ... so shut up already!"

I never said it. But I wanted to. For three whole months. Every time someone said Christmas stuff already?! But it's only [insert month]!

Some people (like me) enjoy seeing Christmas items filling the stores. Some people (like me) look forward to hearing Christmas music. Some people (like me) enjoy the anticipation.

But I am not ready for it to be over. Jonathan took down our tree yesterday. We are slowly getting the house back to its sterile, non-festive holiday state. But I am not ready for Easter. It feels too soon. I am not ready to get back out there and see other people. I am not over Christmas yet.

05 January 2010

What the Dead Know

From the dust jacket:

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?
Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.
In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?

This was a really good book! Amazon recommended it to me because I liked In the Woods by Tana French. I highly recommend this if you like mysteries. Also, it is set in Baltimore and there are lots of references to Northern Virginia so you folks back home would probably enjoy it, too.

I liked how the author revealed critical facts late in the plot rather than laying everything out on the table in the very first chapter. And I also liked the fact that even though I thought I had the whole plot figured out, I was wrong! Not to sound cocky, but I can usually figure out these mystery novels (the only bad thing about In the Woods was the fact that I figured out the present-day murder) but this time I didn't get it right.

I am creepily fascinated by the idea of grief. By what keeps a person going after a horrible tragedy. After a horrible, Nancy Grace level tragedy. What happens to a marriage? To a person who loses everything in an instant? So that part of the story, the part dealing with the parents of "the Bethany sisters" in the days, months, years following their daughters' disappearance, that part appealed to me. As a parent, some of it was painful to read, but it was still fascinating.

So I liked it. I am terrible at reviewing books, so I wish Elizabeth would read it and review it for me! Hint, hint.


I put the kids to bed last night. Wait, that's not true. Let me begin again.

Jonathan put the kids to bed last night. He usually does. And then I usually go in a little later to say goodnight to them and give them hugs and kisses and then I usually check on them a few more times before I go to bed.

I went into the kids' rooms last night to say goodnight to them and give them hugs and kisses.

I said goodnight to Blue first. She burrowed under her covers and when I told her how snug she looked she decided she needed even more covers to look even more snug. So we covered her with her red baby blanket that my friend, Susan, from Borders, made for her before she was even born. And then we covered her with her Winnie-the-Pooh fleece blanket that her cousin, Emily, made for her. Blue giggled happily when I told her how snug she looked under all of those blankets. Then I checked on Lion.

Lion was a bit overly-tired. When he gets a bit overly-tired he gets a bit overly-clingy. He did a whiny little baby voice, stuck out his bottom lip and told me he didn't want to be all alone in his room. He wanted me to stay with him. I told him I was tired and that I would be right down the hall in my room, reading, if he needed anything. And that our doors would be open so I would be able to hear him. That seemed to comfort him. He finally released me from his clutches and I left.

I peeked in Blue's room again as I was leaving Lion's. (I can't help myself. I am addicted to their faces.) She was rubbing her eyes with her fists. So I asked her if she wanted her nightlight turned off. This is a fairly new thing with Blue. Sometimes we turn off her Disney Princess nightlight because it is too bright and we leave the hall light on for her instead. She tries so hard to be a big girl.

She told me to turn it off so I did. I turned the hall light on and then she told me, "You can turn that off, too." I smiled at her and told her I would leave it on, but that I would come turn it off after she fell asleep. She tries so hard to be a big girl, but I know her limits.

I went to my room and curled up with my book. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman. It was very good and soon I was completely engrossed in the story. I have no idea how much time passed when suddenly Lion came into my room. "Mommy," he announced, climbing up on my bed, "you know why I came in here? Dun dun duuuuuun ..." (Lion is always providing his own soundtrack.) "I came in here to get you a hug. Because I love you and I want to get you a hug. So you will know for ever and ever that I love you." We hugged and I tried not to cry at the unbearable sweetness that is my son. He kissed my shoulder while I had my arms around him. Then he climbed down and went back to his room, blowing me kisses and telling me to catch them and put them in my heart. I did and I felt like my heart would burst into a million pieces, it was so full of his kisses.

I decided if I had to describe my Lion in one word it would be loving. He is so cuddly and kissy and huggy. He is always telling Jonathan and I how much he loves us, how we are his best friends... He has always been this way.

Then I thought, what one word would I use to describe my Blue? And the first word that popped into my head last night was brave. I pictured her little face, her tousled hair, as she told me to turn off the hall light. She is so brave. She always has been. Much braver than me. My Blue has always loved going down the tallest slides, swinging on swings as high as she can go, the thrill of playing hide-and-seek with Daddy--her favorite part being the moment when he jumps out of his hiding place and yells "boo!"

04 January 2010